Tunes Tuesday: Steve Earle

Copyright JC Politi Photography

The presidential election is just around the corner. For this reason, I am dedicating the next few Tunes Tuesdays to songs about politics and political issues.

This week, my Tunes Tuesday pick is Steve Earle’s, “Christmastime in Washington.” I could have chosen a number of Earle’s songs – “Ellis Unit One” certainly comes to mind, but this one has always stuck with me for its combination of cynicism and hope about our political environment.

Christmas In Washington
Steve Earle

It’s Christmastime in Washington
The Democrats rehearsed
Gettin’ into gear for four more years
Things not gettin’ worse
The Republicans drink whiskey neat
And thanked their lucky stars
They said, ‘He cannot seek another term
They’ll be no more FDRs’

I sat home in Tennessee
Staring at the screen
With an uneasy feeling in my chest
And I’m wonderin’ what it means

So come back Woody Guthrie
Come back to us now
Tear your eyes from paradise
And rise again somehow
If you run into Jesus
Maybe he can help you out
Come back Woody Guthrie to us now

I followed in your footsteps once
Back in my travelin’ days
Somewhere I failed to find your trail
Now I’m stumblin’ through the haze
But there’s killers on the highway now
And a man can’t get around
So I sold my soul for wheels that roll
Now I’m stuck here in this town


There’s foxes in the hen house
Cows out in the corn
The unions have been busted
Their proud red banners torn
To listen to the radio
You’d think that all was well
But you and me and Cisco know
It’s going straight to hell

So come back, Emma Goldman
Rise up, old Joe Hill
The barracades are goin’ up
They cannot break our will
Come back to us, Malcolm X
And Martin Luther King
We’re marching into Selma
As the bells of freedom ring


What do you think? Do you think that there are inspirational leaders like Woody Guthrie and Martin Luther King,Jr. in this day and age? Why or why not? Who is your favorite inspirational political figure or head of a political movement, either current or historic? Do you think the world needs a visionary leader right now?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading!


Filed under Culture, Economy, Income inequality, Music, Policy, Politcs, Poverty, Role of Government

23 responses to “Tunes Tuesday: Steve Earle

  1. I like it! Don’t listen to his music because I don’t really know him. But he sound great! I am going to google Woody Guthrie to find out who he was.I probably already know but I can’t think of it now.

    • Thanks for the comment! I think Steve Earle is just calling out people who have inspired others to stand up for something and Woody Guthrie’s music did that for a lot of people. Thanks again for stopping by!!

  2. Today, I think any political inspiration comes in the form of Pinterest Quips or jokes on Facebook. George Takei always has some interesting things to say regarding politics and the environment, but all we really do is pass it on, or ‘like’ it. 🙂

    It’s a little sad to think that there is no one like Malcolm X or Martin Luther King to stir up the people and get them to stand up against things like the abuse of the environment, helping the homeless, and other issues that are plaguing both our nations, these days.

  3. Great lyrics! And we do need Woody now! Thanks, Jen.

  4. Like this, Jen. Sadly, I’m not seeing anyone on the political scene who is inspiring in the way of MLK Jr. Barack Obama seemed to have that kind of promise four years ago…and that promise could still be fulfilled. At the present time, it’s not. xoxoM

    • You are so right BTG – Obama has done MUCH more than he is given credit for. But I think we need someone outside of the system to inspire people to apply pressure that Obama himself can’t do alone. And we don’t seem to have that right now. BTW – Diner just started on TV – and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it, if you can believe it!! Tanks for your insightful comment, as usual!

      • Great movie. Lots of stars when they first started. With your roots, you should enjoy it.

      • Margarita

        To use a cliche: We ARE the one’s we’ve been waiting for. We ARE the ones who need to apply pressure for the work of taking care of ALL of us actually gets done, instead of the petty political power plays we’re seeing. The goal of the Republican leadership is to see Obama is a one term president? Really? That’s representing the good of the people of this country? ASSHOLES (please forgive my language, Jen. It’s apt)! xoxoM

  5. People had unrealistic expectations for our President. He has actually done better than people have given him credit for, but there was no way he could lasso the moon, with the lack of collaboration he has received from the opposing party. He has not met his own expectations, but if you think what he has accomplished, it is a pretty neat list – repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, passage of the Affordable Care Act (Biden was right – this is a big effing deal), saving GM and Chrysler and 1 million jobs, getting Bin Laden, the mpg standards, keeping us out of a depression. The GOP has done a superb job of painting a picture that is not true. Yes, he has not done what we hoped, but he has done a lot. The GOP wants people to believe the legend they created – the sad truth is they are accomplishing that mission. That is my two cents from an Independent. BTG

    • Too true, Margarita! I think it would help for there to be someone outside the government helping inspire people as well…and informing them about all the great things that Obama actually has accomplished, as BTG notes. Thanks so much for reading and leaving a comment!

  6. Allan G. Smorra

    Great timing, I have been listening to “The Revolution Starts Now” in my car for the last few days while commuting to/from work.

    I think that we may need someone to inspire us with their vision and encourage us to participate in that realm, much like JFK did with the Space program. I am not sure who that person is today, we may have to create him ourselves.

  7. Dear Jenni,
    YOu know how un-political I am. BUT. For the lack of good political leaders out there, I think there is a rise of SPIRITUAL leaders in our world. Dr. Wayne Dyer, Maryann Williamson, Oprah, Carolyn Myss, to name a few.
    I think, they in some ways, are acually more important that political leaders. If we keep our heads and hearts on straight, we can handle anything, you know?
    Love, Lis

  8. Pingback: Tunes Tuesday: 9 to 5 | newsofthetimes

  9. Compilation disks sometimes leave out the good stuff. Toon Tunes does not. The gsteaert theme songs in cartoon history are here.Growing up, I never knew the real lyrics to Popeye Captured here on a CD, I can hear the complex tough-guy words more clearly than on our old black and white Zenith.The pure energy of Super Chicken, the heavy beat in George of the Jungle and the 1960s jazz stylings of Spiderman come through with great power on a real stereo.They’ve included Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Animaniacs and a few others I like, but wouldn’t consider classics. They don’t compare to Yogi Bear or Underdog, but this could be my generation showing through.Missing are internal songs. The Simpsons best moments might be 30 second ditties like Homer’s It was a Very Good Beer and Mr. Burns’ See My Vest, and great Loony Tunes songs are likewise hidden in the middle of a cartoon short, like Daffy Duck singing Figaro. Disney songs aren’t on here either. I’d love to hear Bear Necessities. Still, I can’t really fault a company which crammed fifty hilarious tunes onto one disk. Someone should make a massive box set.This is great fun, and hoot to show friends who will beg to borrow it.Fans of cartoon music humor will likely want to pick up Songs in the Key of Springfield from the Simpsons, and a Merry Melody compilation.Have a yabba dabba doo day!Anthony Trendl

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